Goldberg? Really? A WWE Champion in 2020?
For years now, WWE fans have suffered part timers coming in and squashing modern day superstars. I’ve accepted it, but yesterday at Super Showdown, I was pushed too far.
Nostalgia can be a very powerful thing in wrestling and it’s created some great moments. It can however, also lead to very short sighted booking. And frustration. Lots of frustration.
For those fortunate enough to have missed yesterday’s ‘Saudimania’, I’ll fill you in on what happened.
The Undertaker came back and beat AJ Styles with a single chokeslam, Brock won his much anticipated WWE championship match against Ricochet in less than a minute, and in the main event, a 53-year-old Bill Goldberg, squashed ‘The Fiend’ Bray Wyatt.
Yes, ‘The Fiend’, – the best character WWE have created for many years – was ruined in less than five minutes.
Going into ‘Mania season, I can totally see why the mainstream appeal of Bill Goldberg and Brock Lesnar as champions, will draw more eyes to the product. The WWE is ultimately a publicly trading company, which is about making money.
And these Saudi show’s are huge amounts of money to WWE. Look at how much money Tyson Fury received to appear…
But the thing is, WWE are so interested in bringing in new – or lapsed eyes – for ‘Mania season, that they are pushing away the fans who support them year round. The fans who attend shows, buy shirts and pay for the network.
For the first time this week, AEW beat NXT in the ratings in for every demographic, and their pay-per-view ‘Resolution’ this Saturday, couldn’t be coming at a better time.
Disgruntled WWE fans have a genuine high production alternative for the first time since the turn of the millennium, and week on week the opposition is growing.
Fan’s left with a sour-taste in their mouth by Thursday’s nonsense, may well be tempted into a palette cleansing evening of graps on Saturday night. And I suspect they’ll be impressed if they do tune in to ‘the alternative’.
It’s widely agreed that AEW have consistently been producing better shows than the main roster have done since it’s inception last October.
Until recently however, NXT’s weekly television show had always gone stride for stride with AEW Dynamite, but now Dynamite has pulled away in-terms of quality and viewership.
The tide is turning in the mainstream wrestling scene and it is as much down to Vince McMahon’s madness as it has been the Elite’s excellence.
AEW are not WWE’s main issue going forward though. WWE’s main problem in the future, is itself and the landscape they’ve built.
It’s 2020, and attitude era stars from 20+ years ago are still knocking about. But the likes of Hogan, Nash, Michaels, ‘Taker, Kane – they are all way past their best and can’t perform in the ring like they used too.
So with all these stars of yesteryear, being way past their use by date, what has WWE done? Build new stars? Let it’s heaving current roster shine?
Nope. They move on to getting all nostalgic about the next set of aging superstars, who are just about young enough still to compete.
Cena, MVP, John Morrison, Edge, Orton – all mainstays of the ‘Ruthless Aggression era. While I might have loved them all growing up, I don’t want to see them now. But that’s who you find if you tune into a ‘Raw’ or ‘Smackdown’.
But what about when they all have to hang up their boots?
WWE have spent so long living off nostalgia now, that it’s prevented them from building any modern stars.
Current full-time roster members like Owens, The Miz and Samoa Joe have all be made fools of by aging stars in recent years. You can’t invest in them and take them seriously.
It’s not just the fans who are reaching the end of their tether too.
Many of the workers are sick of WWE’s creative direction too. Many are just waiting for their contracts to end so they can jump ship to the aforementioned ‘alternative’.
Jon Moxley spent years languishing in the WWE upper-mid card but is now a genuine superstar on Dynamite. He was the first to cross the divide, but rest assured he won’t be the last. Maybe the grass is greener on ‘TNT’…
WWE can’t live of former glories for much longer. Not when their rivals are producing high quality wrestling, story telling and building stars.
How long will it take them to see that though?
Pic by Adam Rickert – Creative Commons License